How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
Published by St. Martin's on July 1st 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance
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Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?”
Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.
George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates.
When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.
Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens.
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is one of the most quirky, wonderful books I’ve read. The magical realism story mixes beautiful writing with fun loving characters who you’ll definitely root for. Also, science! Never thought I’d find science that interesting, but Lydia Netzer makes it so.
Imagine being planned, created, then bred for another person. George and Irene were created for one another, but their story goes a little awry along the way and you’ll just be hoping and wishing they work out. The scene where George sees Irene for “the first time” made me smile and giggle SO HARD! Those two had that effect on me a lot in this book.
Their mothers were a different story though. They caused my heart several twinges of pain throughout the story. It was heartbreaking, but I loved being able to see how this plan was hatched. The glimpses into their past gave the story a solid foundation and even made me wonder if a lot of the things they did could be real.
Also!! This book made me feel like I was watching a Woody Allen movie in my head. It reminded me of Mighty Aphrodite, with all the Greek gods appearing everywhere. :)
I can already tell this book will make an appearance on my End of Year post, and I can guarantee I’ll be recommending it A LOT! I think people who like Sarah Addison Allen’s books should definitely try Lydia Netzer. I can’t wait for you guys to experience this little gem!
Want to see what the knitted black holes look like?? Check out THIS POST on Lydia’s blog that includes a video! They’re ADORABLE!
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Check out these videos of Lydia Netzer discussing How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky!
I know some of my friends do love their audiobooks, so if it will help you pick this up sooner, do it on audio!
Avenge Me by Maisey Yates
Series: Fifth Avenue Trilogy #1
Published by Harlequin Presents on May 27th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Erotica
Source: Blog Tour
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Ten years ago, one devastating night changed everything for Austin, Hunter and Alex. Now they must each play their part in the revenge against the one man who ruined it all.
Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York's elite would never believe it—especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father—risking his family name and those he loves—without any proof?
Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen's reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?
I was so happy to be a part of this very fun Summer in the City tour for the Fifth Avenue Trilogy from Harlequin!! They were so very kind and generous to send me a super cool gift bag with all kinds of goodies! Check it out! AND NOW YOU CAN WIN ONE TOO!! :D
So I read the first book, Avenge Me, and here’s what I thought…
I was so glad that Avenge Me didn’t turn out to be one of those eroticas where the guy is so controlling, it makes me want to hurl the book across the room. Those type of guys are gross. It’s one thing to be domineering in the bedroom and a whole other thing to carry that trend into their everyday lives, especially with their significant others. I can’t stand it.
BUT!! Avenge Me didn’t have that icky factor. Austin is complex in his desires, but a well-rounded human being, if a bit tortured at the moment. He did a few things in the beginning of the book in assuring Katy would have to stay with him that left me kind of questioning if he would turn into one of those dudes I hate, but luckily he brought it around made it better. Kind of, haha. Katy for her part didn’t take any of his crap lightly whatsoever. She gave him a whole lot of shit for it.
Austin and Katy are after the same thing inside and outside of the bedroom, but they don’t know that at first. It isn’t until after their first hot encounter IN the bedroom that they learn who they really are and what they’re both planning, and that’s to ruin the same man.
Ultimately this trilogy is about bringing down the one man Austin and Katy are after, because they all want revenge for Sarah Michaels. So in Avenge Me we see the start of his take down. It appears it’s going to be a nasty fight, so be ready!
SPECIAL EXCERPT FROM AVENGE ME…
Katy let out a long breath and started walking back down the empty corridor, back to the party.
Back toward Jason Treffen.
Talking to him had just about made her lose her mind. It had taken everything in her not to grab his glass from his hand and pour it over his head. Then break the glass on his face.
She considered the man as good as her sister’s murderer, so she was short on charitable feelings where he was concerned.
The door to the ballroom opened, and she froze.
Oh. Her breath left her in a rush, a current of electricity washing
over her skin.
It was him.
The man whose eyes were like an endless black hole, drawing her in, a force she couldn’t deny or control. When he had looked at her, she’d felt as if she were grounded to the spot. She’d felt like he had looked and seen her.
Seen everything. More than that, she’d looked back and she’d seen him.
Had seen a grief in him. An anger.
It had been, in some ways, like looking into a mirror.
“It’s you,” he said, his voice deep, smooth. Like really good chocolate. “I was hoping to run into you.”
“Wh-why were you hoping to run into me?” she asked.
“Because you’re the most beautiful woman here. Why wouldn’t I want to see you?”
“You’re a flirt.”
“That’s the thing, I’m not really.” He put his hands in his pockets, a wicked half smile curling that sinful mouth.
“I have to get back.”
She started to walk past him and he took her arm, stopped her progress. She looked up and met cold, dark eyes.
“To who?” he asked, his voice gentle, an opposing force to the hold he had on her.
There was something about that grip. Commanding. It spoke to every secret fantasy that lived in the dark shadows inside her. The parts of herself that had looked at every man she’d even tried to date and found them lacking.
But not him. He wouldn’t be lacking. Something shivered inside her, a whisper.
He would know what you wanted.
* * *
The first step to revenge in the Fifth Avenue trilogy
Austin has the plan…
Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Books S.A.
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Until We Touch by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #15
Published by HQN on June 24th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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From New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery comes the story of secret desires finally fulfilled…
After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's length—a challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.
Larissa Owens knows where she stands—Jack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed…by her mother!
When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true love—will Jack go for the ultimate play?
Jack hadn’t known how Larissa was going to react when he told her what her mom said, but he’d guessed it would be a show. She didn’t disappoint. Her face went from red to white and back to red. Her mouth opened and closed. With her jaw tightly clenched, she muttered something like, “I’m going to kill her,” but he couldn’t be sure.
Nancy Owens’ words had hit him like a linebacker. Larissa in love with him? Impossible. For one thing, she knew him better than anyone except Taryn and to know him was to understand he was all flash and no substance. For another, he needed her. Love meant a relationship and having a relationship meant she would eventually leave. No. There was no way Larissa could be in love with him.
But he’d been unable to shake the words and had realized he had to get the truth from the only person who actually knew.
Larissa drew in a breath. “I don’t love you. We’re friends. I like working for you and the charity work is terrific and I know you have my back, but I’m not in love with you.”
Relief eased the tension in Jack’s always aching right shoulder. He kept his expression neutral.
“You sure?” he asked.
He shook his head. “I don’t know. I’m pretty hot. I could understand you having a thing for me. You’ve seen me naked. Now that I think about it, your reaction is inevitable.” He sighed. “You love me. Admit it.”
Larissa’s mouth twitched. “Jack, you’re not all that.”
“But I am. Remember that fan who had my face tattooed on her breast? And the one who begged me to father her child? And the woman in Pittsburgh who wanted me to lick her—”
Larissa rested her arms on the desk and dropped her head to her arms. “Stop. You have to stop.”
“Stronger women than you have been unable to resist my charms.”
“In your dreams.”
“No. Apparently in yours.”
She looked at him then, her blue eyes wide, her mouth smiling. “I give.”
“In the end, they all do.”
The smile faded. “I’m sorry about my mother. She shouldn’t have said that. I swear, I am not, nor will I ever be in love with you. I love my job and you’re a big part of that. But we’re friends, right? That’s better. Besides, you have terrible taste in your ‘let’s end this now’ gifts.”
“Which is why I let you buy them.” He hesitated a second. “We’re good?”
“The best.” Her smile returned.
The last of his worry faded. This was the Larissa he knew. All funny and earnest. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and not a speck of make-up on her face. She wore yoga pants and T-shirts and always had some cause to discuss with him. She believed the world was worth saving and he didn’t mind if she used his money to try. They made a good team. He didn’t want to have to do without her and having her love him… Well, that would have changed everything.
Excerpted from the book UNTIL WE TOUCH by Susan Mallery. Copyright © 2014 by Susan Macias Redmond. Reprinted with permission of Harlequin. All rights reserved.
1. In what ways do you think every woman can relate to Larissa Owens?
Larissa is a sweetie. She’s not rich; she’s working as a personal assistant and personal masseuse for Jack. She gets to go to work in yoga pants and touch sexy guys all over. (Dream job!) UNTIL WE TOUCH is my nod to the boss/secretary story, one of my favorite kinds of romance.
Larissa has a pure heart, and when she sees someone hurting, she doesn’t just think about helping. She does help, with whatever resources are available to her. Fortunately for her, since she’s been working for Jack, he has allowed her to use his wealth and connections in service to her causes. In fact, he likes it. With Larissa using his money to try to save the world, he can feel like a part of something without actually putting himself out there. It’s a very comfortable arrangement for them both… until Larissa’s mom tells Jack that Larissa is in love with him, and everything changes.
2. What about Jack McGarry makes him like no leading man we’ve ever seen before in Fool’s Gold?
I think what makes people relatable—both in fiction and in life—are our imperfections and our vulnerabilities. From the outside, Jack’s life appears perfect. He’s rich, handsome, famous. He was a pro quarterback who retired on top and is now experiencing the same phenomenal success in the private sector with Score, the PR firm he co-owns.
But Jack has a secret pain that makes him protect himself from feeling too deeply, from caring too much. He lost someone dear to him when he was young, and he felt responsible. The lesson he took from that loss was that it’s safer on the surface.
Larissa works for him, so she knows he’s not a good bet when it comes to relationships. She has watched a string of temporary girlfriends come and go. She even bought the parting gifts. Despite that, despite her better judgment, she likes the man. He’s a good guy, a great friend, and he’s the sexiest man she’s ever met.
3. If UNTIL WE TOUCH were made into a movie, who would you envision playing Jack and Larissa?
I’m going to go with Chris Pine with black hair and Amy Adams as a blonde. (We must keep the Hollywood hairstylists employed!) Both could handle the funny scenes and the moments of honest emotion.
Of course, one of the funniest scenes in the book would probably have to be cut in order to keep the R rating. No spoilers, but I will say that Larissa is a massage therapist, and as their feelings for each other change, new situations—ahem—arise.
4. Larissa keeps her romantic attraction to Jack a secret at first, before her mother spills the beans. Do you think you should ever keep that secret from a friend you’re falling for, or is it better to confess your love?
In the case of Larissa, she didn’t realize she was keeping a secret… she kept her feelings a secret even from herself. Until her mother’s assertion, Larissa didn’t think she was in love with Jack. Just by saying those words, Larissa’s mom changed everything. These two friends and colleagues are suddenly thinking of each other in a whole new way. Which is inconvenient, to say the least.
As for whether someone in real life should keep her feelings for a friend secret or confess all, I’d have to say it really depends on the situation. Friendship is the best foundation for lifelong love, but not all friends-to-lovers stories end happily. I think you’d need to examine your heart and ask yourself, honestly, what is the best action for you to take.
5. You have written well over 100 books. How do you keep developing such unique storylines and characters that keep your fans coming back for more?
It’s a challenge! The truth is, every love story is unique. We all know dozens of couples who met, fell in love, and married. The framework may be similar—first glance, first kiss, deepening feelings, declaration of love—but the nuances are different. Which means that as a writer, I need to start with the nuances and build from there. What makes these two individuals unique and uniquely suited for each other? What events in their past color their actions and emotions today? As I develop their characters, I look for aspects that put them in conflict with each other, but also for aspects that will make them a couple you can believe will make it for the long haul. The conflict has to last nearly the length of the book, but the things they have in common have to take them through the rest of their lives.
6. What do you think is the recipe for a perfect romance novel?
A perfect romance should carry you away from your everyday world and fill you with emotions as you read. When you put down the book before you’re finished, it should call to you. Chores can wait, dinner can wait. It should be a challenge for you to turn off the light to go to sleep, even when it’s way past your bedtime. You should want to read just one more chapter, and then just one more after that, and then just one more until you’re done because you can’t bear to put it down until you know the characters are happy and in love. And when you do finish this perfect romance, you should feel happy, with a renewed feeling of faith in the power of love to overcome all obstacles.
7. What’s next for Fool’s Gold?
Next up, Kenny and Bailey will fall in love in YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS. Readers are in love with Kenny already, started asking for his story right away. He was introduced in WHEN WE MET, and readers could immediately sense that there are hidden depths beneath his happy-go-lucky façade. Kenny is one of Jack’s partners at Score PR. What he wants more than anything is a family, but he was burned badly by an ex. The one thing he won’t do, no matter what, is fall in love with a single mom. And then he meets Bailey…
YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS was originally slated to be an ebook exclusive novella. However, Harlequin has decided to release it simultaneously in print on October 28. It will be printed at the back of the mass market paperback reissue of CHRISTMAS ON 4TH STREET. Both YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS (ebook) and CHRISTMAS ON 4TH STREET combined with YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS (print and ebook) are available for pre-order now.
8. Any fun summer plans?
I’m going to soak in as much of this rare and precious Seattle sunshine as I can before the rainclouds descend again! Seattle in the summertime has to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I swear, there are a million shades of green, and every single one of them is on display as we walk the dog around the city.
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Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Series: Gilt #3
Published by Viking Juvenile on June 12th 2014
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Blog Tour
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Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?
For me, the thing about historical fiction that always grabs me is just how much I invest in the characters. Especially when it’s derived from actual history. I’ve always loved history and always loved losing myself in imagining what peoples’ lives were like then. I first fell in love with the Tudor era after watching The Tudors series on Showtime. If a character intrigued me enough I would spend time googling them and reading their Wiki page (because we all know that’s the most accurate internet source for history!). I’m by no means a fanatic, but I enjoy it in the moment I’m being consumed by it.
I never thought to look into King Henry’s son because in the tv series, he dies as a young boy, so imagine my surprise to have him be the love interest in Brazen. And I didn’t recall Mary Howard at all from the show. I know! I really shouldn’t be using the show as a point of reference but not having studied this in school or anything, it’s the only thing I can go from, okay?? Okay.
There’s so much at stake in Brazen and it makes for quite the page-turner. Mary and Fitz’s marriage is arranged, so they don’t really know each other, but there’s an instant pull between the two that only grows stronger as time goes on. They’re hardly ever together, even after being married, but they get to know one another and fall in love inspite of the separation. It was one of the most sweetest, strongest relationships I’ve read. I completely believed in their love for each other and I wanted them to have their happily ever after, even knowing that was unlikely because, hello! It’s The Tudors!
Another amazing part of Brazen was the friendship between Mary, Madge, and Margaret. Those girls went through so much together and their relationships were tested often. There were a lot of positives and even some sad disappointments in the end. You’re also going to read about people you know something about: King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and so on. You actually get to see Anne Boleyn’s execution in Brazen through the eyes of Mary, who in this book is friends with her. I loved that aspect of this story.
Brazen completely stole my heart. The characters set up shop in my heart from page one and stayed there until the last page. The writing was so enthralling and moving. This was my first Katherine Longshore read, but it won’t be the last.
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6/2/2014- Literary Exploration- Review
6/2/2014- The Anne Boleyn Files- Guest Post
6/3/2014- Romantic Reads and Such- Interview
6/4/2014- Page Turners- Review
6/5/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Guest Post
6/6/2014- Parajunkee’s View- Interview
6/9/2014- Gone With The Words- Review
6/10/2014- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Interview
6/11/2014- Bewitched Bookworms- Guest Post and Review
6/12/2014- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
6/13/2014- Mundie Moms- Review
6/13/2014- Fiktshun- Interview